PMDs to be banned in void decks, common corridors at PAP town councils
Pedestrian-only zones will also be on trial for three months as part of measures to protect pedestrians from errant e-scooter riders
Three months after several MPs called for personal mobility devices (PMDs) to be banned from void decks and common corridors, all 15 People's Action Party town councils will do just that.
And pedestrian-only zones, where riders must dismount and push their PMDs, will be on trial for three months at five townships, with the view of implementing them islandwide if they prove useful. The five trial sites are the neighbourhood centre in Tampines and the town centres in Ang Mo Kio, Bedok, Bukit Batok and Khatib.
These are part of the slew of new measures announced yesterday to improve pedestrian safety and clamp down on errant PMD users.
Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min told Parliament that $50 million will also be set aside to expand and improve active mobility infrastructure at hot spots where accidents often occur.
This will be done over the next few years and will include the widening of footpaths and installing of speed-regulating strips.
"We will work with local MPs and residents to identify the infrastructure improvements to tackle specific hot spots in each constituency," Dr Lam said.
Thirteen MPs had filed 16 oral questions on PMD issues, including pedestrian safety, illegal modification, fire safety and infrastructure.
Responding in a ministerial statement, Dr Lam acknowledged that PMDs are a hot topic on the ground and that the Transport Ministry is deeply concerned by the risks.
He said: "Reckless PMD riders have become a menace on the ground, causing alarm on our public paths... Such irresponsible behaviour is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated."
In 2017 and 2018, there were 228 reported PMD accidents on public paths.
Dr Lam said whenever he read of such accidents, he had asked himself if it would be better to ban PMDs.
But he said he was also mindful that tens of thousands of Singaporeans have benefited from the use of PMDs.
Referring to calls to ban bicycles from footpaths a few years ago, Dr Lam said there is now a greater acceptance of bicycles, and he is convinced that Singaporeans can similarly be taught to use PMDs responsibly.
"But, with hindsight of experience, we should add new regulatory measures to enhance safety," he added.
In May, Dr Lam said town councils can set and enforce their own rules on PMD use.
He told Parliament yesterday the decision to ban PMDs from void decks and corridors, which have many blind spots that cannot be overcome by infrastructure improvements, came after further discussions.
The New Paper understands that it is up to the individual town councils when and how the ban will be enforced.
TNP also understands the Workers' Party-run Aljunied-Hougang Town Council is still deliberating the move.
Other measures announced include a trial to implement school zone markings on footpaths outside schools, which include speed-regulating strips, "SLOW" markings and enhanced visual cues on the ground.
Works have been completed at Fern Green Primary School in Sengkang, and the trial will be expanded to four more schools by next month.
At the national level, the Transport Ministry has set new targets to expand the cycling path network from 440km to 750km by 2025, and triple the network by 2030.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also continue to ramp up enforcement by doubling its enforcement team from about 100 to about 200 by the year end.
This will be supplemented by technology, like the new reporting function in LTA's MyTransport.SG app and an 18-month trial of mobile closed-circuit televisions at hot spots.
The authorities are closely monitoring the existing penalty regime and will enhance it if necessary, Dr Lam said.
The Active Mobility Advisory Panel is also expected to submit recommendations on the issue of third-party liability insurance later this year.
Dr Lam said: "Safety is always our paramount concern. And we will not fail Singaporeans in safeguarding their lives and welfare."